In my opinion, Ben Affleck has only three really good movies on his resume: “Good Will Hunting,” “The Town” and “Argo.”
Well, now he can add a fourth to that list in the form of the recently released “Gone Girl.” Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, this adaptation has been eagerly awaited and I honestly can say that fans of the book will not be disappointed. This is a masterful work that combines the best talents of director David Fincher, extraordinary performances from Affleck and a well-rounded supporting cast, and a story that leaves us in suspense and disbelief right up until the end.
Affleck plays Nick Dunne, who’s searching for his missing wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike). At first, it seems like the case is a mysterious disappearance, but then dark secrets start to emerge from their tumultuous past and it leaves everyone, from the police to the media, contemplating about Nick’s actions and reactions to the case.
Without his Madea persona, Tyler Perry turns in the first great performance of his career as Affleck’s lawyer who is bound and determined to help him get to the bottom of the case. Neil Patrick Harris costars as Amy’s former lover and there is a growing suspicion that he might be in on the scenario.
The movie divides its time in the first half by providing a non-linear narrative, jumping back and forth between how Nick and Amy met and married and even some of those secrets are revealed as unexpected revelations.
At times, the narrative structure does seem to meander a little bit, and some viewers will find its ending to be emotionally elusive and distant. But those are just minor shortcomings compared to the amazing direction of Fincher, the spectacular cast giving us some career-best work, and a meticulously detailed screenplay filled with exceptional writing filled with quiet and solid moments.
“They love me, they hate me, they hate me, they love me,” Affleck quotes at one point. Well, right now, Mr. Affleck, we love you and hopefully there’s another Oscar waiting in your future.
(Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.